By Rachel Birdsell
The Polk County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department recently spent four days setting up a sting operation to nab people who were looking to pay or be paid for sex. Undercover officers posing as prostitutes and johns set up meetings with people on websites used for the solicitation of sex. Sheriff Grady Judd seemed to be rather pleased with the arrests and stated, “We seemed to have every thug and reprobate in central Florida under arrest. Let the word go forward, this is not our last operation, because we like it.” The sheriff’s office then released the names of those collared along with their photos, places of employment, marital statuses and whether or not they were on government assistance.
The professions of those arrested ran the gamut of fast food server to microbiologist. The majority of them appeared to be in their 20s and 30s. None of those arrested were under 18, and none were being forced to prostitute themselves. Twenty-two of those arrested were also charged with possession of drugs, and most of those were for possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis. So, all of the people arrested were adults seeking another adult for sex. Some of those had a little bit of pot. None of them were engaging in violence.
I have doubts that the majority of the people arrested were thugs and reprobates, and I think Sheriff Judd got a little too much enjoyment out of arresting people who weren’t hurting anyone. I don’t see what good comes out of these types of sting operations. How much money did the sheriff’s office spend on such a useless endeavor? Is there not any other crime occurring in Polk County — like crimes with real victims?
Let’s just legalize prostitution. Then we can regulate it, tax it and make it a safer profession for all involved. It would give the economy a boost and drop unemployment rates. Kick the pimps to the curb and have the women work in houses where they can be screened for diseases. Nevada has legalized prostitution and the state hasn’t turned into a massive crime-riddled orgy; at least not more of one than it was prior to legalization. Right now it’s legal for two adults to meet at a bar, get drunk and sleep with each other. Sometimes the payment is a few drinks, other times it’s given freely. Why does it become illegal when money exchanges hands?
Maybe I have a tendency to be open-minded about prostitution because my great-grandmother worked in a cathouse. Of course, Grandma was a working girl in the early 1900s so times were a little different.
Actually, the real reason I’m OK with legalizing prostitution is because I haven’t heard a good argument as to why it should be illegal. If you think you have a valid one, let me know. Until then, I’ll maintain my opinion that you should be able to sell a service that is legal for you to give away for free.
Rachel Birdsell is a freelance writer and artist. You can follow her at www.facebook.com/RachelABirdsell or drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org